Thursday, January 25, 2018

Did Russell Give Out That He Himself Was “Some Great One”?

By Ronald R. Day, Senior, Restoration Light Bible Study Services (ResLight; RlBible)

J. J. Ross, in this pamphlet entitled Facts and More Facts About the Self-Styled “Pastor” Russell asserts the following concerning Charles Taze Russell:
He got a considerable following of the common people, and sold out the five men’s furnishing stores which he owned, thenceforth devoting all his time to teaching and preaching his peculiar religious doctrines and giving out that he himself “was some great one.”
Since Ross puts “was some great one” in quotes, we are left with the impression that Ross is quoting from Russell, and that somewhere Russell made the claim that he “was some great one,” using those very words. In fact, however, the alleged “fact” assertion that Ross presents is not fact at all. Search as we may, we do not find anywhere that Russell used the expression “some great one” of himself.

One may search Russell works for the expression “some great one” below:

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Ross did not give any citation as to where he obtained the quote: “was some great one.” We have found no place where Russell actually used the expression “was some great one” as such, and he definitely never spoke of himself as being "some great one,' so the quote is evidently false. As best as we are able to determine, he probably is referring to what Russell stated in the October 1, 1909 Watch Tower, page 293, which, in Ross’ mind, could possibly be twisted to mean that Russell claimed that he was “some great one.”  Let us read the whole paragraph in order to get the context of what Russell actually stated:
Our opponents are ready to admit that the Lord has used the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as his channel or servant in forwarding the harvest message in a most remarkable degree — in a manner and to an extent hardly to be believed and never equaled — in many tongues and at the hands of many “fellow-servants,” Colporteurs, Pilgrims, Volunteers, etc. They admit that there is no question that a remarkable service has been rendered, and hence that it is indisputable by any who believe that there is a harvest work in progress and that the Society has been a servant of the harvest message in a most profound and peculiar sense, even if they dispute that it has fulfilled Matthew 24:45, as being “that servant.” Our friends, on the other hand, point out that very rarely, indeed, is there any quarrel or dispute over the privilege of being a servant, and that never in the world’s history before has this passage been applied, and that very few would be either desirous of being “that servant” or capable of fulfilling that service. They point out that a servant is known by his service, and that if the service be shown to have been performed, the title of servant is an appropriate one, although one not generally coveted. Those who have laid claims to being “some great one” have styled themselves in some fantastic manner Messiahs, Elijahs, prophets, etc., but amongst these none has ever been found to claim the title of “servant,” nor to rejoice specially in service — particularly not without money and without price, but merely from love for the Lord, love for the Truth and love for the brethren.
Please note above that Russell did not refer to himself as “some great one,” but he refers to others who have made claims to being such. From this it appears that Ross may have taken Russell out of context so as to present as a  “fact” that Russell was “giving out that he himself ‘was some great one.'” Nevertheless, Ross continues in this same manner throughout his pamphlet, so that his “facts” are actually distortions and misrepresentations, as we hope to continue to show, God willing, as we present more posts concerning Ross' alleged "facts".

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Charles Taze Russell, Watch Tower Illustration and The Masons

He cried as a lion: Lord, I stand continually on the watch-tower in the day-time, and am set in my ward whole nights. — Isaiah 21:8, World English
Isaiah 21:11-12 - The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? [12] The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. -- King James Version
Habakkuk 2:1 - I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. -- King James Version.

It is often claimed that the word “Watch Tower” and the illustration that Russell used on his magazine are of Masonic and/or heathen occult origins. From this, many  further imagine that this offers proof that Russell was a member of the Freemasons’ organization, or that Russell was highly influenced by the Freemasons’ organization, and/or that Russell was involved in some kind of alleged occult practices.

As with other such "witch hunt"-type proofs, any connection with the Freemasons or the occult has to be imagined and assumed, and then the assumed connection is presented as being fact. And yet the fact is that Russell was definitely never a member that organization, nor was he involved in any heathen occult practices. Evidently, what is being imagined and assumed is that the term Watch Tower itself is Masonic, and thus anyone who uses that term must be a Freemason, or be highly influenced by the Freemasons. Likewise, it evidently imagined the usage of Watchtower symbolism is itself of the occult, and thus anyone who uses this symbol must be involved with the occult. This is the same "witch hunt"-type logic that is used concerning Russell’s Biblical use of the cross and crown (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10) and the Christian armor (Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11-13) illustrations. In other words, what is being offered as proof is not the illustrations that Russell used, by rather what is being imagined and assumed concerning those illustrations.

If, however, usage of the term “Watch Tower” is Masonic, then the Bible itself must be Masonic, since that is what Russell based his usage of the term upon, as can be seen from the scriptures that he presented on the cover of the Watch Tower. One of the scriptures used is Isaiah 21:11,12, which speaks of a watchman. The watchman, of course, would be in a watch tower (Isaiah 21:8), and would report of anything that would be of importance to whatever city he was to report to. 

Concerning Isaiah 21:11,12, Russell stated:
It is the duty of the watchman on the walls of Zion to declare the whole counsel of God the bitter as well as the sweet. This duty we continually seek to perform. It is appropriate that the glories of the millennial epoch, foretold through God's word, should receive more of our attention than the darker picture of the night of trouble with which it will be introduced. It is appropriate also that we give, as the scriptures do, still more attention to the inculcation of the principles which go to form Christian character amongst the Lord's consecrated people, because these are essentials to their attainment of the glorious privileges and honors of the kingdom. 
-- "The Morning Cometh, and a Night Also", sermon, November, 1907.
So far we have not actually found any place wherein Brother Russell directly explained why he chose the name “Watch Tower” for his magazine, but, in application, Russell believed that the Bible should be guide for what would appear in his magazine, which bore the name “Watch Tower”. The symbol of a Watch Tower signifies watching and heralding truths in connection with the Bible and its prophecies.

To this end, Russell presented in the pages of the Watch Tower the following (scriptural references have been expanded for search purposes):
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or “Seminary Extension,” now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, “For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.” It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society’s Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled “Pilgrims,” and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.
Our “Berean Lessons” are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society’s published “Studies,” most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian’s hope now being so generally repudiated, — Redemption through the precious blood of “the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all.” (1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Peter 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to — “Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which…has been hid in God,…to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God” — “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed.” — Ephesians 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; — according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
At most, it appears that it was his belief that the Watch Tower magazine would be a sentinel to present truths to spiritual Zion as they are found and understood from the Bible itself.

Regardless, the idea that the word “Watch Tower” as Russell used it is of itself Masonic, or that the Biblical illustration of a Watch Tower is Masonic, or of the occult, is linked only by use of the spirit of human imagination. As we have stated before several times on this site, we have tens of thousands of pages of Russell’s works that abundantly attest that he was not a member of the Freemasons, nor that was "into the occult"; no one has yet presented any evidence -- except for what has to be either distorted, imagined and assumed -- that Russell was a Mason, or that he was being highly influenced by the Masons, or that he was practicing anything of the occult.


Russell's Alleged Use of Masonic Symbols

Russell and the Occult